On our last blog post, we talked about singleness, and the benefits of being single. I left you with a list of items to check off to know when you are ready to start dating. So now you’re saying, Eric, I’ve checked every box on your list. I know and have a relationship with Christ. I’m mature and I believe I have the time it takes to pursue a woman. Congratulations, you are now ready to begin searching for the girl of your dreams!
Well now what?
Now you need to know what it is you are looking for in a woman. Let me put a myth about our “other half” to rest: is it nice to date a girl who has qualities that I do not have? For some reason, I am a major germ freak, yes, I can admit it, but Micaela does not share the same fear of germs as I do. Man do we ever complete each other, huh?
When I am looking for qualities in a woman who I want to date, I want our ideas, interests and beliefs to match up. Like I said in the singleness blog, I am not looking for someone to fulfill me; that is something only Christ can do. I am looking for someone to walk alongside and share my life with me.
For me, the most important thing was to find someone who had a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the main the reason I believe Micaela and I’s relationship has blossomed to the level it has so far. As both of our individual relationships with Christ grow, our relationship with each other grows as well.
When I met Micaela we were at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes summer camp, so I figured she had the main box checked. After being together seven months I can tell you she has this box more than checked, she has it completely colored in.
You meet the girl you think hits all the traits you are looking for, now ask her out on a date!
For us guys who profess to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, here is a good template for what our dates should reflect:
- Set a date – Make it known that this is a date, not “hanging out”.
- Plan the date – You don’t have to take her to the five star steakhouse on the first night. Go somewhere that does not put any pressure on her. Ice cream or frozen yogurt, coffee, a local restaurant (something under $30 for both of you) are all great places for a first date. You want to be able to go somewhere you will be able to talk – this is what the first date is for. Get to know her. Ask her more than just “what’s your favorite movie, candy, tv show”; ask her about her family, her career, her school. Show her you care more than just a surface level.
- Be a gentleman – Compliment her on what she is wearing, open her car door, open the door at the restaurant for her, wait for her to sit down before being seated, and pray before your meal.
Now, you’ve been on one date, you’ve gotten to know her better, and usually you can tell if this is a women you are going to be interested in pursuing. When Micaela and I went on our first date, I knew she was someone I could spend the rest of my life with.
NOW BE HONEST WITH HER. If you feel there is a connection, ask her on a second date. If you feel like she’s not someone you could see yourself dating, that’s fine too! Just be honest with her, she will appreciate that much more than being drug along in a relationship you have no true desire to see grow.
[Tweet “Trust God with the timing in your life.”] Ask God to send someone into your life, pray for the traits you are looking for in a woman. Almost six months passed between when Micaela and I first met, and when we actually started dating, so be patient. If we are truly followers of Christ than we will trust Him in every situation in our lives, including who we are going to spend the rest of our lives with.
Let’s just take a moment to reflect on the many romance movies that are produced. One of my personal favorites is The Notebook, then of course there are other popular picks like the classic Titanic and the tear jerking A Walk to Remember. (Feel free to mentally add your personal favorite to feel a part of the list)
So many girls love watching these movies because as women, we were designed with a desire to be romanced. We search and long for a man to love us, and these movies act as little fillers until we can feel romanced ourselves.
What many people don’t think about is that we can be romanced any day, all day, 24/7, by God. It is such a beautiful concept that I touched on in our last post on singleness that is so often over looked.
Moving from the movies, which we watch who knows how many times, into dating, what aspects of a man do you normally look for: big strong muscles, a six pack, a smile that will light up your world?
My mom always told me I loved the men that were tall, dark, and handsome (in which I am lucky enough to be dating currently), but when I think about a man who I want to eventually call my husband, physical traits are not what I am the most concerned with.
So what traits do girls look for? Or more importantly, what traits should we look for?
Now there is the Christian cliché of saying we should all look for a “Godly man,” but we often shorten this trait to just the basics, cheating ourselves of the characteristics we deserve in a man truly living in Christ.
A Godly man isn’t someone who you go to church with every Sunday and call it good. A Godly man is a spiritual leader. Someone who helps protect you and guard who God has created you to be.
Something Eric does, that I adore, is he always encourages and challenges me to be who God created me to be, not who he wants me to be. It really highlights how selfless he is, but it also shows how great of a depth his relationship with God is. He wants to better me so that together, we can glorify God.
A second trait that is important in dating is communication. In the beginning it is easy to communicate because you are getting to know the basics about each other. However, as time passes, you need to be able to communicate even more for those difficult conversations about everything life throws at you. Being open and transparent during these times of trials is when you can grow closer together.
Being vulnerable enough with someone to communicate about the pains you are struggling with is a really hard task for a man or a woman.
When you’re single, it is you and God going at the world together, but when God places a man in your life that pushes you closer to God, you get to work at conquering battles together.
This leads me to the last trait that is important to have in a future spouse, trust.
[Tweet “Dating means being vulnerable, and being completely open with someone takes large amounts of trust.”]
I was raised to be independent and allowing myself to rely on someone for advice is very difficult for me to do personally. It is something I continually have to work on so I can show Eric everything God created me to be, my strengths and my weaknesses. In the little moments that I have gone out of my normal comfort zone to share with him, it has resulted in a growth in our relationship. While it is hard, being open to vulnerable communication, it is necessary to take on life together in the future.
These 3 traits are so important to have when it comes to finding a man to date and eventually marry. (Because when you date someone, it is to have a future with them which is something our society has turned into a “casual relationships” deal.) Knowing who you are while you are single, and adding that to a healthy dating relationship will help you glorify God in everything you do and even create more joy in your life.
Finding the person of your dreams is not finding your other half; finding God is finding your other half. It is not through the muscles or the perfect smile that you will find a lasting relationship, but through the unique traits God has given each individual to perfectly mold together with their future husband or wife. Just like your relationship with God relies so much on who you are and where you are at in life, your relationship with your boyfriend relies on so much more than a surface level outline.
It is so hard reading all of this and just trusting that God has someone out there for you who will respect you and lead you, but take it from me, His timing and plan for your life is perfect. It is better than anything you could ever imagine. Do not settle for a guy who only gives you attention, wait for the man that will make you feel like you are the one God intended for him the whole time you were praying for your future husband.